Mel Cooke, Freelance Writer
Guitarist Ernest Ranglin (left) and folklorist Olive Lewin are all smiles after being inducted into the Jamaica Music Hall of Fame at JAVAA's 5th anniversary ceremony held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel last Friday. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer
In keeping with the theme 'Their Music Lives On' the songs performed were from the catalogues of the dead and many of the awards handed out in the Gardens of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Friday night were posthumous.
But save for a few lulls, mainly in the second segment of a long concert, the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates' (JAVAA) fifth anniversary and inaugural induction into their 'Jamaica Music Hall of Fame' was a lively affair. And on a Friday night, customarily not the best of times for a major concert, a large audience of the mainly mature and elegant turned out for the all-seated style event.
Still, apart from those who chose to stay on their feet, only an accidental tinkle from a lawn sprinkler during Aaron Silk's tribute to his brother, Garnett and Errol Dunkley's urging as he paid homage to his friend Delroy Wilson got them to stand.
MCs Patrick Lafayette and Junior Sinclair added substance to the songs by giving some biographical data on the persons whose music was being performed.
There were two songs from each dead performer, Elaine Peart's tribute to Adina Edwards being one of the early sparks. The audience cheered as the lady with the deep, powerful voice opened Don't Forget to Remember Me, then followed with Just a Closer Walk With Thee. Clancy Eccles Jr delivered his father's Feel Di Riddim, Maurice Henry brought out the R&B of Vic Taylor and Junior Sinclair went into singing mode along with the Tamlins to sprinkle the Rivers of Babylon Brent Dowe style before the awards.
Tales and awards
Fae Ellington's lively banter kept the long 'Jamaica Music Hall of Fame' induction clipping along. She burst into song about "when we roas' de yellow yam" for Dr Olive Lewin, who was on hand to collect her award, and repeated tales about Ernest Ranglin, told to her by Charles Hyatt, of a burst guitar string replaced without a break in the music while the guitar maestro was playing in England.
The other inductees were the Alpha Boys' School (with special mention of Sister Mary Ignatius Davies), Louise Bennett-Coverley, Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd, Joseph Vere Johns, Derrick Morgan, Arthur 'Duke' Reid, The Skatalites, Lord Flea, The Wailers and Oswald 'Count Ossie' Williams.
Paternal percussion tribute
Count Ossie got a paternal percussion tribute to Oh Carolina by one of his sons and Bongo Herman also tapped out his respects on the drums. Lymie Murray portrayed the 'bionic' voice of Jacob Miller very effectively on Tenement Yard (which was restarted before he even hit the stage) and Chapter a Day, the microphone decorated with a long strip of red, green and gold.
The ladies especially loved it when George Nooks settled into the groove of his contemporary rendition of Dennis Brown's Your Love's Got a Hold on Me, following with How Could I Live. Bagga Case and Ras Mandito took the house down with the Blue Busters' Soon You'll Be Gone and Wide Awake in a Dream, but when they crooned "behold I saw you standing" they went over the top. Andrew Cassanova was an outstanding dead ringer for a cool Scotty, 'forward and payaka' and all.
But at some points the party feel waned, among them Bunny Brown and Lloyd Parkes' tribute to Slim Smith and Dwight Pinkney's guitar pickings of Marley melodies.
Phyllis Dillon got a double tribute of sorts, with one song each from Angella Stewart and Mary Isaacs and, as the hour got late, the double tribute to Delroy Wilson from 14-year-old Javaro (with The Lion of Judah) and Errol Dunkley (Your Love is Amazing) capped off a good night, a bit short of the climax it could have reached.